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The American Journal of Managed Care December 2018
Feasibility of Expanded Emergency Department Screening for Behavioral Health Problems
Mamata Kene, MD, MPH; Christopher Miller Rosales, MS; Sabrina Wood, MS; Adina S. Rauchwerger, MPH; David R. Vinson, MD; and Stacy A. Sterling, DrPH, MSW
From the Editorial Board: Jonas de Souza, MD, MBA
Jonas de Souza, MD, MBA
Risk Adjusting Medicare Advantage Star Ratings for Socioeconomic Status
Margaret E. O’Kane, MHA, President, National Committee for Quality Assurance
Reducing Disparities Requires Multiple Strategies
Melony E. Sorbero, PhD, MS, MPH; Susan M. Paddock, PhD; and Cheryl L. Damberg, PhD
Cost Variation and Savings Opportunities in the Oncology Care Model
James Baumgardner, PhD; Ahva Shahabi, PhD; Christopher Zacker, RPh, PhD; and Darius Lakdawalla, PhD
Patient Attribution: Why the Method Matters
Rozalina G. McCoy, MD, MS; Kari S. Bunkers, MD; Priya Ramar, MPH; Sarah K. Meier, PhD; Lorelle L. Benetti, BA; Robert E. Nesse, MD; and James M. Naessens, ScD, MPH
Patient Experience During a Large Primary Care Practice Transformation Initiative
Kaylyn E. Swankoski, MA; Deborah N. Peikes, PhD, MPA; Nikkilyn Morrison, MPPA; John J. Holland, BS; Nancy Duda, PhD; Nancy A. Clusen, MS; Timothy J. Day, MSPH; and Randall S. Brown, PhD
Relationships Between Provider-Led Health Plans and Quality, Utilization, and Satisfaction
Natasha Parekh, MD, MS; Inmaculada Hernandez, PharmD, PhD; Thomas R. Radomski, MD, MS; and William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS
Primary Care Burnout and Populist Discontent
James O. Breen, MD
Adalimumab Persistence for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Veteran and Insured Cohorts
Shail M. Govani, MD, MSc; Rachel Lipson, MSc; Mohamed Noureldin, MBBS, MSc; Wyndy Wiitala, PhD; Peter D.R. Higgins, MD, PhD, MSc; Sameer D. Saini, MD, MSc; Jacqueline A. Pugh, MD; Dawn I. Velligan, PhD; Ryan W. Stidham, MD, MSc; and Akbar K. Waljee, MD, MSc
The Value of Novel Immuno-Oncology Treatments
John A. Romley, PhD; Andrew Delgado, PharmD; Jinjoo Shim, MS; and Katharine Batt, MD
Medicare Advantage Control of Postacute Costs: Perspectives From Stakeholders
Emily A. Gadbois, PhD; Denise A. Tyler, PhD; Renee R. Shield, PhD; John P. McHugh, PhD; Ulrika Winblad, PhD; Amal Trivedi, MD; and Vincent Mor, PhD
Provider-Owned Insurers in the Individual Market
David H. Howard, PhD; Brad Herring, PhD; John Graves, PhD; and Erin Trish, PhD
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Mixed Messages to Consumers From Medicare: Hospital Compare Grades Versus Value-Based Payment Penalty
Jennifer Meddings, MD, MSc; Shawna N. Smith, PhD; Timothy P. Hofer, MD, MSc; Mary A.M. Rogers, PhD, MS; Laura Petersen, MHSA; and Laurence F. McMahon Jr, MD, MPH

Mixed Messages to Consumers From Medicare: Hospital Compare Grades Versus Value-Based Payment Penalty

Jennifer Meddings, MD, MSc; Shawna N. Smith, PhD; Timothy P. Hofer, MD, MSc; Mary A.M. Rogers, PhD, MS; Laura Petersen, MHSA; and Laurence F. McMahon Jr, MD, MPH
Many hospitals penalized for readmissions were given readmission grades of “no different” or “better” than the national rate on the Hospital Compare website.
ABSTRACT

Objectives: To (1) compare the 2015 hospital grades reported on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website for heart failure (HF) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) readmissions with the HF- and AMI-specific scores for excess readmissions used to assess Medicare readmission penalties and (2) assess how often hospitals were penalized for excess readmissions in only 1 or 2 conditions, given that hospitals received a penalty impacting all Medicare payments based on an overall readmission score calculated from 5 conditions (HF, AMI, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and total hip/knee arthroplasty).

Study Design: Retrospective secondary data analysis.

Methods: Descriptive analyses of hospital-specific, condition-specific grades and excess readmission scores and hospital-level penalties downloaded from Hospital Compare.

Results: Of the 2956 hospitals that had publicly reported HF grades on Hospital Compare, 91.9% (2717) were graded as “no different” than the national rate for HF readmissions, which included 48.6% that were scored as having excessive HF admissions, and 87% received an overall readmission penalty. Of 120 (4.1%) hospitals graded as “better” than the national rate for HF, none were scored as having excessive HF readmissions and 50% were penalized. AMI data yielded similar results. Among 2591 hospitals penalized for overall readmissions, 26.6% had only 1 condition with excess readmissions and 27.5% had 2 conditions.

Conclusions: Many hospitals with an HF and AMI readmission grade of “no different” than the national rate on Hospital Compare received penalties for excessive readmissions under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. The value signal to consumers and hospitals communicated by grades and penalties is therefore weakened because the methods applied to the same hospital data produce conflicting messages of “average grades” yet “bad enough for penalty.”

Am J Manag Care. 2018;24(12):e399-e403

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